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Film Review: Melodrama Mire in ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’

CHICAGO – Everyone’s favorite city-flattening radioactive reptile, “Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” gets stuck in a mire of third-rate-TV-network domestic melodrama in this disappointing follow up to the thrilling 2014 reboot. But before I roar about the many ways this misbegotten miscreant messes up, let’s throw a few pebbles of praise.

Podtalk: Media Artist Lana Z. Caplan on Her New Exhibit, ‘Dunites’

Lana Z. Caplan, 'Dunites'

BOSTON, MA – Meeting Lana Z. Caplan, as I did at the Chicago Underground Film Festival, is to meet a variety of perspective all in one dynamic artist. The veteran “lens based” media visionary has single-channel films, video, interactive installations and photography on her palette. Her latest exhibit – through September 29th, 2918 – is at Gallery NAGA in Boston, and it is entitled “Dunites.” The presentation will include photography, video, 35mm slides and a VR (Virtual Reality) installation, all inspired by the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes south of San Francisco.

Film Review: Chef Emerges in ‘Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent’

Jeremiah Tower

CHICAGO – The culture of food has never been more pervasive, from entire broadcast channels devoted to it, to new trends in eating being invented seemingly every day. Where did it all start? The new film ‘Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent’ documents the chef that opened the door.

Film Review: Miraculous ‘Batkid Begins’ Can Save Us All

CHICAGO – Sometimes, a simple will of the heart is like a drop of water in the ocean, which ripples so profoundly that it affects the tides. That will is illustrated in the heartbeat of “Batkid Begins,” the story of Miles Scott, a little boy fighting an illness, who wished to be The Batman.

Film Review: ‘Big Eyes’ Too Conventional to Generate Any Interest

Big Eyes

CHICAGO – What’s up with Tim Burton? His style is hardly present in the straightforward story of artists Margaret and Walter Keane, locked in a battle of creation over “Big Eyes” child paintings. There is nothing revelatory or even interesting in the process of their struggle of who-painted-what, maybe perhaps Burton – a collector of the art – wants to increase their value?

Interviews: Michael B. Jordan, Octavia Spencer Talk ‘Fruitvale Station’

CHICAGO – Right on the heels of the Trayvon Martin verdict is a new film about a similar divisive and race-controversial event, “Fruitvale Station.” Actor Michael B. Jordan portrays Oscar Grant, a 22 year old African American who was shot in the back during an arrest procedure in Oakland, California.

Film Review: ‘The Guilt Trip’ Never Reaches a Destination

CHICAGO – There has to be something wrong with a movie that by the end, the thought is ‘how did they get a parking spot in San Francisco?’ and ‘how much does that house cost?’ “The Guilt Trip,” with Seth Rogen and Barbra Streisand, is a dispirited exercise in wasted potential.

In Memoriam: Peter Yates, Director of ‘Bullitt,' 'Breaking Away'

CHICAGO – On the stadium set of “Breaking Away,” during the 1978 filming of the climatic bike race sequence, an extra ran up to director Peter Yates and handed him a cold beer. The filmmaker raised it high, and lustily took a drink.

Interview: Benjamin Bratt Honors His Journey With ‘La Mission’

CHICAGO – Benjamin Bratt is a handsome man. That is undeniable when meeting the popular actor. But what he also expresses is a deep passion and intelligence, both for his work and the world around him. He was recently in Chicago promoting his new film, “La Mission,” directed by his brother Peter Bratt.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Grace, Or the Art of Climbing

    CHICAGO – What is life but a constant climb? The Brown Paper Box Co., one of the most vital storefront theater groups in Chicago, asks that question and more in the significant “Grace, Or the Art of Climbing.” Using a woman’s journey through some difficult situations, the parallels of “the climb” become a artfully performed story that is all inspiration and uplift. The play runs through July 7th, 2019, at Stage 773 in the Belmont Avenue Theater District in Chicago. For more information and tickets, click here.

  • Elizabeth Laidlaw

    CHICAGO – The recent limited series “The Red Line” on CBS-TV was notable for a couple elements – it was set in Chicago and it featured Chicago actors in major roles. Creators Caitlin Parrish and Erica Weiss (from here), cast their Chi-town colleague Elizabeth Laidlaw, who portrayed police officer “Vic” Renna.

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